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Projects: We Do Exist (Youth Experiencing Homelessness Awareness Campaign)


Clients: Texas Appleseed and Lifeworks 


A fearless advocate for youth and families seeking self sufficiency. They are committed to innovative problem solving, shared accountability and relentless focus on achieving real, sustainable and measurable results for the clients they serve. LifeWorks is a leader in Austin’s community effort to end youth homelessness by 2020.

Texas Appleseed

A public interest law center working to change unjust laws and policies that affect Texans, including youth experiencing homelessness. In 2017, Texas Appleseed in partnership with TNOYS released a report on the problems unaccompanied homeless youth face in finding stability, safety, and housing. Texas Appleseed also worked with Baker & McKenzie and Weatherford to create a Homeless Youth Handbook to help youth know their rights and learn about available resources.

The We Do Exist Campaign

A joint effort of LifeWorks andTexas Appleseed to raise awareness about youth experiencing homelessness in the state of Texas and offer ways to get involved. The campaign was launched in November 2018 to coincide with National Homeless Youth Awareness Month and National Runaway Prevention Month. The campaign will continue on now annually with the goal to grow throughout Texas and spread information.

For National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, Texas Appleseed and Lifeworks joined together to develop an awareness campaign that included a billboard at Burnet Rd. and North Loop in Austin, a banner displayed above the entrance of Austin City Hall, a Capital Metro full bus wrap ad, branded items to partner with local businesses, and a full social media presence. The campaign team also received a proclamation from Mayor Steve Adler and Councilwoman Ann Kitchen bringing awareness to the youth homelessness crisis in Texas and declaring November 1st, 2018 as Homeless Youth Awareness Day in Austin. 

Background / The Challenge

How might we increase awareness of youth homelessness among the public and policy makers to motivate them towards creating lasting solutions?

Below: Website detail of outlining a research point and the clickable corresponding policy solution below that 


Below: One pagers for in-person legislative meetings


Below: Social content design for We Do Exist 

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Below: Billboard design, North Burnett Road, Austin


Below: Capitol Metro full bus wrap


Below: Banner above entrance to Austin City Hall


Below: Stickers


Below: Votive candles at local businesses


Below: Coffee sleeves at local businesses


Below: City proclamation


Background / Findings 

We got a better understanding of the challenges youth experiencing homelessness face, how the legislative process is currently working for and lacking for these individuals in order to develop a strategy. 


Youth experiencing homelessness is a lot different than an adult experiencing homelessness. Also, the general public are largely unaware youth experiencing homelessness was a major issue because they aren't typically seen. Many youth who are experiencing homelessness often don't self identify, don't show up at shelters due to safety concerns, and are often couch surfing with friends or acquaintances and fly under the radar. All of these factors make it difficult to get the public and policy makers rallied around getting a bill passed to assist them in getting them help.


Texas Appleseed has a vast amount of valuable research findings and policy recommendations that would inform the public and policy makers. The research they do within this complex system, including interviews with people with lived experience, is an invaluable resource that has potential to inform policy solutions that are better suited to work for the people they impact. Where adults may end up homeless because of different factors such as mental illness or addiction, kids experiencing homelessness was often a result of factors such as a broken foster care system, the juvenile justice system, or conflicts in their home. These unique journeys fundamentally require a different approach to meet their unique needs.

We created a website where current research-based findings and policy recommendations could all live. The website would then have different directors of traffic such as social media posts or physical handouts geared towards in-person legislative meetings.  


AIGA Austin Changemaker Series

Unites teams of creative professionals with nonprofits and social change organizations to use design thinking, sustainable frameworks and creative tools to help advance their mission. These multi-discipline teams work together throughout the summer to tackle some of the organizations’ trickiest challenges using human-centered design and design-thinking tools.

Below: Changemaker Series weekend workshop at R/GA Austin

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